A FORMER soldier imprisoned in India for four years has appealed for £2,000 from the public to help him find somewhere to live when he returns to the UK.
Ray Tindall, 42, set up a JustGiving page five days ago – and has already seen the target smashed by his generous supporters.
The ex-sniper, from Chester, is one of the Chennai Six, a group of men jailed in 2013 for illegally possessing weapons while working for a private US-owned ship.
The anti-pirate vessel was impounded after it reportedly strayed into Indian territorial waters.
He was finally acquitted and released from prison last week following tortuous legal proceedings that have repeatedly offered glimmers of hope, only for them to be dashed by the Indian authorities.
Writing on his crowdfunding page, Ray said: “I have just been released from and Indian prison, I am part of The Chennai 6, I have been very fortunate to have had amazing support throughout this epic and I cannot thank people enough, it has been truly humbling.
“However, I need to rebuild once back, (after 4 years), which means I will have to rent a new home, furnish it and be able to sustain myself, until I can get back to work, this is what any funds kindly donated will be used for.
“It's hard for me to request this, as I am a proud Yorkshireman, but pride will not put a roof over my head, your kindness and generosity will, so I thank you in advance.”
Ray, who became an award-winning butcher after leaving the army, also revealed on Twitter that the paperwork allowing him to finally leave India is almost complete.
He wrote yesterday: “I have just completed my on line application for an exit permit, appointment is tomorrow morning, so all being well I will be in possession of all the paperwork I need to leave very soon. Thanks for your kind support, this is now almost over.”
Chester MP Chris Matheson, who has stayed in touch with Ray and fought his corner throughout the ordeal, has vowed to help his constituent settle back into UK life.
He previously told The Standard: “Obviously we need to ensure that everything is in place to support Ray when he comes home to Chester, and that’s what I will be working on.”
To help Ray, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/raytindall
See full story in the Chester Leader